Terry McGlynn

Jul 19, 2021

The Chicago Guide to College Science Teaching

University of Chicago Press 2020

Listen to this interview of Terry McGlynn, author of The Chicago Guide to College Science Teaching (U Chicago Press, 2020). McGlynn is also a professor of biology at California State University Dominguez Hills and research associate in the Department of Entomology in the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. We talk about learning, actually.

Terry McGlynn : “If you’re giving students a writing assignment, like an experimental protocol, and they’re supposed to write about what they did in the lab or in the field, and it’s a cookbook project, you know, where the students don’t design the methods themselves and they're just doing what they were told to do and they're writing that down–––well, then the students are just jumping through a hoop and there's no ownership. That just gets you following through the prescribed steps, and in each of those steps, you just need to know, 'Oh, I just need to write a sentence where I've said This is where I did this,' and you write that sentence. And so, I think you can get through the whole assignment without thinking about the grand reason why you're doing it, right? Because the grand reason why you're doing it is because you need to turn it in and get your grade. And so all the little decisions you're making when you're doing the writing assignment–––all those decisions are all based on a micro level of, 'Okay, this next sentence, and that next sentence,' rather than if you had more control over what you're writing or if you had a bigger set of questions–––basically, if you knew why you're doing this assignment, you know like, what is the purpose of the assignment other than to turn it in and to get a grade–––because then that would be the purpose which is behind all those other small decisions, the purpose that guides you toward some destination."

McGlynn's blog is here

Daniel Shea heads Scholarly Communication, the podcast about how knowledge gets known. Daniel is Director of the Writing Program at Heidelberg University, Germany. Daniel's YouTube Channel is called Write Your Research.

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